Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Two Heroes

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Two Heroes

Article excerpt


Dolon, "ill-favored but fast," should have been in bed, snoring beside his slow, ill-favored wife. But this was War. When Hector, monstrous by torchlight, offered a chariot and two stallions as reward for spying on the Greeks, Dolon pictured himself

cantering through Troy while girls who'd swooned for pretty-boy Paris lay down for him, and men who'd ridiculed him knew how wrong they'd been. "My pride as a man urges me to go," he blurted, pulling on the Iliad's only "weasel hat."

Like me after I mounted that mechanical bull, Dolon must have thought "Uh-oh," heading out into the night. Two Greeks immediately spied him: Diomedes of the Great War Cry, and Odysseus, who'd have his own epic someday.

These were the kind of men Dolon most hated and idolized: strutting and flexing in bronze gear, eager to lop off this man's arm, spear that man's groin, cleave another's face "so that his eyes popped out and his brain plopped in pieces on the ground."

Ordered to box Benny Mongonia in P.E., I, like Dolon, ran. In all the Iliad, he's the only man described as "like a doe that runs bleating before hounds. …

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